Despite a growing body of research on idea diffusion, there is a lack of knowledge on why some ideas successfully diffuse and stand out from the crowd while others do not surface or remain unnoticed. We address this question by looking into the characteristics of an idea, specifically its connectivity in a content network. In a content network, ideas connect to other ideas through their content—the words that the ideas have in common. We hypothesize that a high connectivity of an idea in a content network is beneficial for idea diffusion because this idea will more likely be conceived as novel yet at the same time also as more useful because it appears as more familiar to the audience. Moreover, we posit that a high social connectivity of the team working on the idea further enhances the effect of high content connectivity on idea diffusion. Our study focuses on academic conference publications and the co-authorship data of a community of computer science researchers from 2006 to 2012. We find confirmation for our hypotheses and discuss the implications of these findings.

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Research Policy
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Deichmann, D., Moser, C. (Christine), Birkholz, J.M. (Julie M.), Nerghes, A., Groenewegen, P., & Wang, S. (Shenghui). (2020). Ideas with impact: How connectivity shapes idea diffusion. Research Policy, 49(1). doi:10.1016/j.respol.2019.103881